The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

PREV        NEXT        V 04 2001 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 4, Number 33, August 13, 2001: 
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 
Copyright (c) 2001, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society. 


   We have four new subscribers this week: Martin Purdy of 
   New Zealand,  Kjell Holmberg of Uppsala, Sweden, Brian 
   Schneider of Bozeman, Montana, and exonumia dealer Joe 
   Levine of Presidential Coin and Antiques.  Welcome aboard! 
   Our subscriber count is now 412. 


   Art Rubino of  Numismatic Books of Santa Fe writes: 
   "This is to inform members that expected to see our 
   bookshop at the ANA show in Atlanta that due to an 
   equipment failure en route to the show [truck blew it's 
   cooling system], we have had to cancel. Sorry." 


   "Founded in 1884, the Grolier Club of New York is America's 
   oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the 
   graphic arts. Named for Jean Grolier, the Renaissance collector 
   renowned for sharing his library with friends, the Club's 
   objective is to foster "the literary study and promotion of the 
   arts pertaining to the production of books." -from the club's 

   An upcoming exhibition at the Grolier Club will feature 
   numismatic literature.  "Numismatics in the Age of Grolier 
   open September 12, 2001.  For more information, see 

   From the exhibition press release:  "Numismatic literature was 
   among the most elegant and fascinating expressions of the 
   printer’s art during the European Renaissance.  A wide selection 
   of these works, as well as Renaissance medals and the Greek 
   and Roman coins which inspired them, will be on view at the 
   Grolier Club September 12 through November 17, 2001. 

    "Jean Grolier, the famous French book collector for whom 
   the Club is named, was recognized by contemporaries for his 
   collection of ancient coins as well as for his numismatic books, 
   which formed a significant portion of his library.  Items from 
   Grolier’s collection will be on view in the forthcoming show. 
  Among the highlights are many “firsts:” 

   •  The first numismatic book – the 1514 Paris edition of Budé’s 
       De Asse et partibus, published by Josse Bude. 
   •  Andrea Fulvio’s Illustrium Imagines (Rome, 1517), the first 
       illustrated numismatic book in its possibly unique first issue. 
   •  An unfinished 1565 manuscript of Enea Vico will be displayed 
       for the first time, along with all his published works. Vico is 
       generally considered the first scientific numismatist. 
   •  Grolier’s copy of Vico’s first book, Le imagini, published in 
   •  Grolier’s leather bound coin trays from the Bibliothèque 
       Inguimbertine in Carpentras will be on view for the first time 
       in America along with cases belonging to Nicolas-Claude 
       Fabri de Peiresc from the same collection 

   A symposium, co-sponsored by the American Numismatic 
   Society, will be held in conjunction with the Grolier Club 
   exhibition October 27, 2001,  10 am – 3 pm. Speakers 
   will include: 

   Professor John Cunnally, co-curator of the exhibition and 
   author of  "Images of the Illustrious, the Numismatic Presence 
   in the Renaissance" (Princeton, 1999). 

   Dr. C. E. Dekesel, author of monographs on Hubert Goltzius 
   and Charles Patin and the new standard bibliography of 16th 
   century numismatic books, Bibliotheca Nummaria (Crestline 

   Jean-Baptiste Giard, Conservateur émerité of the Cabinet des 
   Médailles of the Bibliothèque nationale (Paris), author of the 
   standard catalogues of the Roman coins in the Bibliothèque 
   nationale and of the mint of Lyons, as well as numerous 
   articles on the history of numismatics. 

   Dr. Stephen K. Scher, co-curator of the exhibition, former 
   chairman of the Art Department of Brown University, 
   organizer of the Frick exhibition and editor of the catalogue 
   The Currency of Fame, Portrait Medals of the Renaissance 
   (New York, 1994). 


   In response to your editor's request for an update on 
   the numismatic library of  the Eric P.Newman Numismatic 
   Education Society (EPNNES), Eric Newman writes: 
   "I am glad to respond. The Missouri Numismatic Society 
   which operates in St. Louis, Missouri has just donated its 
   extensive numismatic library to EPNNES.  The combined 
   holdings are shelved at the Mercantile Library of the 
   University of  Missouri - St. Louis and will be consolidated 
   and maintained in St. Louis, Missouri. 

   The former holdings of the Missouri Numismatic Society are 
   substantial in classical, medieval and modern world-wide 
   material while the EPNNES numismatic holdings are primarily 
   American. The consolidation will require a substantial period 
   of time to accomplish. Availability for research and writing 
   will be continued subject to regulations which will be prepared. 
   Thomas Serfass is the EPNNES curator and I will also try to 
   be of service." 


   Jim Halperin writes: "Enjoyed the latest E-Sylum as always. 
   Your readers might be interested in knowing that the newest 
   edition of Doug Winter's book, Gold Coins of the Carson 
   City Mint, 1870-1893,  just arrived from the printer last 
   week.   For more info:" 

   The following is an except from the Doug Winters' comments 
   on his book from the above web site: 

   "My first book on Carson City gold coinage was published in 
   1994. It was an immediate success and quickly became the 
   standard reference on the series. Within a few years, it had 
   become scarce and a collector's item. 

   Ironically, as the first book became more valuable, it became 
   less useful. Some hoards of Carson City gold coins had 
   entered the market in the mid-1990's and changed the 
   population figures that I had suggested for a number of issues 
   Some great old collections came on the market and a number 
   of new Condition Census pieces made my old listings obsolete. 

   I decided to totally revise the book in 2000 and made it similar 
   in format and design to the Charlotte and Dahlonega books 
   that I had published in 1998 and 1999 respectively." 


   Phil Mossman writes: "Number #117 of The Colonial Newsletter, 
   August 2001, has been sent to subscribers.  This issue features 
   an article by Brian Danforth in his continuing research regarding 
   the circulation of William Wood's Hibernia coppers both in 
   Ireland and the American colonies.  Here he reexamines the 
   historical record and challenges some of the popular numismatic 
   tradition that has evolved concerning these coinages.  In 
   summary, they circulated widely in Ireland and were not 
   rejected as Dean Swift's tirades against them would have us 
   believe.  Many were shipped to America in the mid-1730s but 
   only after they had been replaced by regal Tower Mint issues. 

   A find of coins from Upper New York State, recovered over 
   a period of years by a metal detectionist, is examined in detail 
   in an article contributed by John Lorenzo.  These coins date 
   from around the turn of the 19th century and are quite 
   representative of other similar finds of the period.  It is an 
   analysis of data from such finds as this that have enabled us to 
   develop a fair idea of the coins that circulated in pre-Federal 

   David Gladfelter contributed an article featuring four engraved 
   plates from the Earl of Pembroke's collection which depicted 
   eleven early American coins.   "The illustrations of these eleven 
   pieces are, with the exception of John Evelyn's 1697 engraving 
   of a St. Patrick's farthing, the earliest of American coins 
   appearing in a numismatic publication." 

   And lastly, Editor Emeritus, James C. Spilman, updated readers 
   with a checklist of "Early American Counterfeit Halfpence 
   Believed Struck in America." 


   New subscriber Martin Purdy writes: "My main numismatic 
   interests are Scottish, as are my oldest numismatic books 
   (Numismata Scotiae, 1786) and a few 19th-century volumes, 
   including the three volumes of Burns (1887).  I'm also pleased 
   to be the temporary custodian of the oldest volume in the 
   Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand Library 
   collection (Familiae Antiquae in Antiquis Numismatibus, 

   I learned about your list from the "closing-down" posting of 
   the Numislit  mailing list." 

   New subscriber Kjell Holmberg writes: "I am, for 20 years, 
   an enthusiastic collector of numismatic literature - with main 
   focus towards 17th, 18th and 19th century books, as well as 
   numismatic auction catalogues and price lists.  The 
   geographical focus is Sweden, Norway and Denmark. 
   I am also a member of the Swedish Numismatic Society." 

   New subscriber Schneider writes: "I have known about The 
   E-Sylum for a while, but signed up after reading Stuart Segan's 
   piece in the August 13 issue of Coin World.   My interests are 
   pretty much all coinage of the USA.  My primary studies are 
   in the Liberty Nickel series. Even have a website devoted to 


   Dick Johnson writes: "I have been out of commission for 
   ten days.  My computer got hit with a virus.  Not "red worm", 
   but one my Internet Server, SNET, called "Sir Gam.gen W32." 

   You cannot imagine how it feels not to be on the internet. I 
   cannot do research,  I cannot check facts, I cannot contact 
   numismatic friends.  I lost my hard drive and all my mail files, 
   and address book. And a number of recent, unanswered 
   emails (I answer all inquiries sent to Medallic Art Co on past 

   Fortunately all my manuscript files for two books are on 
   another computer (not connected to the internet -- for good 
   reason!). These are backed up and I have off-site storage 
   as well.  Perhaps these would be good tips for E-Sylum 
   readers and fellow authors." 


   Joe Levine writes: "Funny that you asked me about what I 
   have always referred to as the Huey Long Toilet Seat Medal. 
   I too have written up this piece and it appeared in the 
   Exonumia Notebook column that Dave Schenkman and I 
   used to write.  As I recall, the primary source of my info was 
   T. Harry Williams' Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Huey 
   Long, where he devotes considerable space to the incident. 
   The ANS also has some interesting info on their presentation 
   ceremony (which was a black tie event)!" 

   Now out of cyber-hybernation, Dick Johnson writes: "This 
   medal is listed in my upcoming directory of American Artists, 
   Diesinkers, Engravers, Medalists and Sculptors of Coins and 
   Medals. The entry is under the artist's name, George De Zayas. 
   There are 19 lines in this entry and since this is the only medal 
   he created (to my knowledge) it all applies to this medal. 

   He was born in Mexico City in 1895. He was an illustrator 
   for Collier's magazine.  He died in Garwood New Jersey, 
   1967. He signed the Long Medal model with GZ initials. 

   The artist was listed three times in Who's Who in American 
   Art (1937, 1939, 1941). He is included in the massive 
   3-volume Who Was Who in American Art (by my 
   publisher, Peter Hastings Falk) in volume 1, page 907. 

   The medal was struck in 1933 by Medallic Art Company. 
   It is their catalog number 33-47.  It is in the collection of the 
   American Numismatic Society (of course, since they 
   conducted the award ceremony).  It is ANS accession 
   number 1933.83.1 which you can go to their website, enter 
   this accession number and find its description. There is a 
   symbol on this line indicating the ANS has more than one 
   specimen in their collections. 

   The medal has sold nine times at auction (that I have cited). 
   I sold it twice in my Collectors' Auctions Limited;  Joe 
   Levine has auctioned it seven times in his Presidential Coin 
   and Antique sales, from number 50 (lot 1078 in June 1991) 
   to number 69 (lot 1359 in June 2001). 

   The history of the medal was published in the Centennial 
   History of the American Numismatic Society by Howard 
   Adelson, pages 259-260. It was written up by Joe Levine 
   in The Numismatist in the August 1977 issue, pages 1610- 
   1613.  Ed Rochette included it in his book of columns, The 
   Other Side of The Coin, pages 146-147. 

   A plaster model made from the original galvano pattern 
   was, indeed, mounted in the public men's room at Medallic 
   Art's Danbury plant in 1972.  It was in the shape of a toilet 
   seat, but rendered as a fine bas-relief in good taste. 
   Company president, Bill Louth, ordered it placed there. 

   Since this restroom was across the hall from the room 
   containing the archive medal cabinets,  which was my 
   charge, I used this facility often. I can remember standing 
   at the urinal and memorizing the design of the open-mouthed, 
   droopey-eyed fish and a fist smashing into it. I could draw it 
   from memory to this day." 


   Allan Davisson writes: "Numismatic indexes are extremely 
   important. The indexes for articles in the BNJ series (British 
   Numismatic Journal) and to articles in the Spink Circular 
   and the Seaby Bulletin as well as the indexes published for 
   the SCBI (Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles) volumes 
   make information readily available that would otherwise be 
   barely, if at all, accessible. I remember clearly how hard it 
   was to find things in the BNJ, for example, before the two 
   index efforts were published (one official, one unofficial). 

   The British really seem to be good about this. Harry 
   Manville's three publications in his series, Encyclopedia of 
   British Numismatics, adds to this tradition. 

   I assumed, when we agreed to publish Bill Daehn's 
   exceptional annotated bibliography of English language 
   references on Greek coins that there would be comparable 
   interest. I was forewarned by some serious numismatic book 
   publishers that this assumption might not be sound. Those 
   who have bought the book have been enthusiastic. But we 
   have sold just over 100 copies despite advertising (including 
   a full page in The Asylum) and trying hard to promote Bill's 

   Is there something that differentiates those who follow 
   ancient numismatic literature from those who pursue British 
   references (a principal focus of mine) or American numismatics? 
   Or am I missing an important point somewhere? 

   I do know that those who have done the work on indexes 
   have taken on massive tasks. I know Harry Manville well 
   and am as amazed at the size of the task he completed as 
   I am at the work Bill Daehn did which I saw on a more 
   immediate basis." 

   Granvyl G. Hulse, Jr. writes: "As  Librarian for Numismatics 
   International I am in full agreement that an index of numismatic 
   periodicals is long overdue, and I would include in this 
   project books that contain more than one topic (IAPN's 
   "Numismatics - witness to history" is an example.) I have 
   had to admit defeat on more than one occasion knowing full 
   well that the answer to a query might lie in one of the many 
   magazines sitting on our shelves.  One of my constant 
   references is Elvira Clain-Stefanelli's "Numismatic Bibliography." 
   She did heroic work, but it is long outdated.   The International 
   Numismatic Commission briefly tried to do something similar to 
   what is presently being considered by listing current numismatic 
   research, but did not follow through. (To give one an idea of 
   the scope of the work before us, their listing of research for 
   the period 1966-1971 ran to three volumes.) 

   The problem is not in the software. The NI author index uses 
   a simple spreadsheet with a four letter code assigned to each 
   author. Our master listing by author is produced by simply 
   giving the command to sort.   The problem is the subject index. 
   When we first started to index the library the only useable 
   subject classification system available at that time was ANA's. 
   While I grant you that it is a camel turned out by a committee 
   that was going to build a horse,  ANA has been fully supportive 
   of our efforts, and a number of times has granted us permission 
   to add new classification codes to break down country 
   groupings that had become unmanageable. (The Benelux area 
   is one example - middle Europe another.)  I submit that the 
   creation of a standardized title /author/topic method of 
   identification does not require a special software program. 
   The problem will be - what do we use for our subject 
   classification system?  My preference would be not to 
   re-invent the wheel, but to expand the present ANA 
   system to meet our needs. Once we have agreed on a 
   standardized identification and a standardized subject 
   classification, any number of people can start scanning 
   indexes using any type of software available to them, 
   modify the results according to our agreed method of 
   identification and classification and ship their work off to 
   whoever is acting as the central clearing house." 

   Mrs. Craig N. Smith writes: "Late every Sunday evening, 
   my husband prints and shares his E-Sylum with me.  On 
   Monday morning, as I was reading through the August 2001 
   issue of PC World Magazine,  I remembered the E-Sylum 
   request for help on indexing software. In a letter from the 
   magazine, the topic of indexing came up.  In briefly touring 
   the website of the American Society of Indexers, it would 
   seem that they may be able to provide some useful information." 

   Some excerpts from the aforementioned letter from L. Pilar 
   Wyman, of Annapolis, Maryland: 

   "I would like to thank Stephen Manes for noting that: 
   "Professional indexing by a human being has become a quaint 

   But professional human indexers, such as myself, are still 
   around.  It boggles my mind that hardware and software 
   vendors do not rely on intelligent humans to assist with 
   indexing. (I wonder how much money could be saved on 
   tech support calls if the manuals themselves were indexed 

   "Information architecture" and "Web site design" may sound 
   like new fields.  But here's a secret:  It's all indexing -- ask 
   any librarian or other information professional.  But try telling 
   that to a Web site or database designer. 

   I have been writing indexes for over ten years, for a variety 
   of media. And the American Society of Indexers, 
   ( an association of professional indexers, 
   has been around since 1968. There's simply no excuse for 
   any interested company not to provide quality information to 
   its customer base." 

   [The site's "Frequently Asked Questions About Indexing" 
    page (  is a very 
   useful overview of the topic.  -Editor ] 


   Malgorzata "Gosia" Fort, wife of Asylum Editor 
   E. Tomlinson Fort, writes in response to David Lange's 
   piece about living arrangements when both a library and 
   spouse are involved: 

   "A word of support for all book collectors' wives. Yes, 
   we do need to have an "open and uncluttered home". 
   This usually has little understanding on the part of our 
   significant other. Tom and I had books absolutely 
   everywhere in our old apartment. 

   SO, when we bought the house, WE decided to change 
   the biggest room in the house into OUR LIBRARY. A 
   truly wonderful idea!  I think it would work fine, if we 
   had the same understanding what OUR LIBRARY 
   means. As it quickly turned out our views on the library 
   were slightly different.  I cherished the idea that we would 
   have a room full of books, a room where our collections 
   would be joined  and where, in the evenings we could sit 
   in comfortable armchairs and enjoy our mutual passion 
   for books.  [The rest of the house would be free of books, 
   of course] 

   Tom's idea of the library was to have a place for his 
   numismatic books only! And, I must admit, they really look 
   gorgeous neatly arranged on shelves by topic with a little 
   room in each section reserved for growth. But it is also very 
   obvious that, now we have both, the library and the books 
   in every other room! The only argument that I won (a rather 
   teary one) was to extend the room for my books from three 
   shelves to eight, which means that the rest of my collection 
   would stay indefinitely in my parents' house. All other 
   arguments ended up as arrangements of compromise 
   between two different approaches to book collecting. 

   I need the light to fully appreciate my books.  I take 
   enormous pleasure in petting spines of my books, enjoying 
   different colors, textures and smells.  Tom sees in light solely 
   its damaging powers, so we had to have curtains in the Library. 
   ["No curtains" was not an option, but I got the right to choose 
   one]  My "economy of space" approach helps me manage 
   better the limited space I have.  My shelves are adjusted to 
   different heights and books are arranged by size.  In my 
   parents' house I had my books arranged in two rows and 
   from time to time I would shift them to enjoy the books from 
   the second row for a while.  Oh, what fun it was!   This 
   approach is "criminal" in Tom's eyes.  All shelves should be 
   of equal size and the only reasonable arrangement of books 
   is by subject.  [He still complains that I forced my idea of 
   designing a small section in one of his bookcase with shelves 
   adjusted to the height of his tiny Loebs] 

   And then it comes the last difference.  Shall I admit that  I 
   bought quite a few books in my life that I did not care for 
   the text at all and I had no intention to read.  I bought them 
   because they were fine specimens of the art of printing and 
   looking at them gives me equally great pleasure as reading. 
   I have couple of books from 1932,  low circulation editions 
   with uncut pages and I am going to preserve this original state. 
   [And when I am writing this, Tom's voice with "if I paid so 
   much money, you can bet, I am going to read it" rings in my 
   ear] I would prefer any original first edition to the finest reprint 
   [but he already knows this] 

   Anyway, have a little bit more understanding for your wife's 
   desire to fight your passion.  If not fought, it would sneak out 
   from under control and spread around leaving not much more 
   room than for old traditional 3 Ks (Kinder, Kuchen, Kirche). 
   Fighting for "uncluttered" house, she is actually fighting for the 
   room in your heart." 


   Steve Pellegrini writes: "I'd like to make a comment regarding 
   the fate of the Davenport library. It was sad enough that most 
   of it had been damaged and that so little was at the time 
   salvageable. Today, however, the state of computer driven 
   'textual forensics' and the scanning and light spectrum filtering 
   is even now almost magically able to restore readable text from 
   congealed globs of soaked pages.  Eventually this technology 
   will be advanced enough to make saving the text of even minor 
   works like auction catalogues worth the small investment in time 
   and money. 

   As we all know old catalogues are invaluable in discovering 
   the tiny factoid of attribution, provenance or variety on which 
   the success of a project may hinge. My point is that today it is 
   better to find an obscure dark, dry spot to store these boxes 
   of rotting catalogues than to toss them into the abyss of the 
   local dump.  To some yet unborn researcher using tomorrow's 
   tools an old box of trashed catalogues may prove to be the 
   numismatic Dead Sea Scrolls." 


   Stephen Pradier writes: "Larry Mitchell and I have been 
   discussing a topic that apparently was brought up sometime 
   ago by other E-Syoum subscribers regarding the first 
   CD-ROM auction catalogue. 

   Heritage Numismatics (HNAI) issued a Catalog Disk, May 
   4, 2000 for Central States Numismatic Society.  This is said 
   to be the very first American numismatic auction catalogue 
   released on CD-ROM. 

   The first catalogue, ever, with CD-ROM was issued by 
   Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS AG WARBURG) 
   Numismatic Section for Auction 46, Gold & Silver Coins 
   for their January 26-28 1999 Auction. 

   It came in a CD jewel case with a cover. The later ones are 
   packaged in just a paper and cellophane CD envelope. 

   I also ran my findings by Karl Moulton of Numiscats, Benoit 
   Shoeni of UBS and Dustin Johnson of Heritage Numismatics 
   (HNAI) and the consensus is that UBS was the first. 
   I did call the ANA library as an additional source but all of 
   the librarians were away at the Atlanta convention. 

   Speaking of catalogues the latest UBS catalogue is stunning, 
   #50.   The catalogue is hardbound with pictorial boards with 
   images in full high resolution color.   The left-hand side page 
   describes the coin on the facing left-hand page in detail in both 
   German and English.  The right hand side page is a page and 
   a half wide folded over to the middle right. 

   The top of the folded page has a sharp high resolution color 
   photo of the obverse of the coin up for auction.  Unfolded the 
   page reveals three to four close up images of the detail of both 
   the obverse and reverse of the coin.   The close up photos are 
   very sharp and clear. To the left of the folded page is printed 
   the estimated price in both Swiss Francs and US dollars. Also 
   a line is provided to write in the hammer price and an area for 
   notes. It comes with a CD-ROM in a jewel box. The PRL is 
   printed in the form of a pamphlet which has it’s own cover. 

   This is one of the most well designed auction catalogues I have 
   ever seen. As far as I know there are still some available for 
   purchase and you can contact, Mr. Benoit Schoeni at or visit their web site at" 


   This week's featured web page is Rodney Sell's Hong Kong 
   Numismatic Literature page.   "I seriously started collecting 
   Hong Kong coins in 1975 and immediately tried to find good 
   reference books.  There did not appear to be any available 
   and I had difficulty obtaining information on any books that 
   had been published. 

   I have since discovered that the first catalogue to be 
   published on Hong Kong Currency was by my friend 
   Antonio B. de Sousa who now lives in Melbourne Australia. 
   It has taken me till August 1997 to get a copy of this catalogue 
   which is shown amongst the items listed..." 

   One interesting title is "The Banknote That Never Was" by 
   Francis Braun (1982, 138 pages, hard cover), the story of 
   emergency bank notes printed at the end of WW II but 
   never actually issued.   [Quiz question: who can name other 
   books or pamphlets on the sole subject of a numismatic 
   item which was never released by the issuing government?] 

  Wayne Homren 
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 


Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

PREV        NEXT        V 04 2001 INDEX        E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

NBS Home Page    Back to top

NBS ( Web